ConvergeSouth was, again, a great event organized by some great people.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Even though I am loath to single out any of the many worker bees who made this year’s edition such a success,Ã‚Â a special “job well done” goes out to Sue, Ben, EdÃ‚Â and jw who seemed to be everywhere at the same time.
I attended several very informative sessions, but two stand out for very different reasons.
Tom Lassiter’s session on making better videos was what ConvergeSouth is supposed to be all about.Ã‚Â It was ‘nuts and bolts’ oriented andÃ‚Â defined the unconference mantra that “the audience knows more than the session leaders”.Ã‚Â Lenslinger chimed in with a pro’s point of view and told how everyone can benefit from sticking toÃ‚Â the basics.Ã‚Â Cone posted some highlights of that session which has caused me to consider delving into adding video here in the future.
On the other hand, the session billed as ‘J-School vs B-School’ was the worst session I have ever attended.
It seemed as though only Killian got the memo about “the audience knows more…” and he did his best toÃ‚Â speak only when spoken to and to advance the conversation.Ã‚Â The two professors, however,Ã‚Â seemed to think we were there only to discover how smart they are.
Although Betchel had the good manners to keep his prepared comments to a minimum,
Sykes (thanks, Sue)Ã‚Â StylesÃ‚Â was intolerable.Ã‚Â After she was recognized and called on to make an opening comment, she whipped out a multi-page dissertation and proceeded to read it to the audience… verbatim.Ã‚Â The session went to hell in a hand cart after that.Ã‚Â I looked around the room as Styles droned on and onÃ‚Â and I saw eyes rolling so far back in heads that I thought some attendees would be permanently blinded.
Now and again someone would interupt Styles ad-naseum monologue and try to steerÃ‚Â the session back into an actualÃ‚Â conversation, but she was not to be deterred from reading her self-important lecture from end to end.Ã‚Â One time she even interrupted what little give and take Killian was able to foster by saying, “I just have a few more points to make…”, and went right back to reading to us like we were a bunch of third graders during story time.
When I was able to get a word in edgewise, I told her that while her readings were interesting (I was lying, but trying to be nice), they would have been much better suited as a hand out.
It would have been helpful for the J-School/B-School session to have been video taped.Ã‚Â That way, everyone who volunteers to lead a session for ConvergeSouth 08 can be sent a great example of what NOT to do.
But, still, overall my hat goes off to the ConvergeSouth team for a tremendous event.Ã‚Â I learned a lot, met some great folks, got re-acquanted with some old friends, and marvelled at what all can be done, and is being done, on the Internets.